Borussia Dortmund are a team for soccer hipsters. Back in the 2010-11 Bundesliga season, fans jumped aboard the bandwagon as they surged to their first Bundesliga title in nearly a decade. They had, and still have, a loud stadium, a young coach and incredibly fun but relatively unknown players. They played, and still play, extremely fast and attacking football.
All of that contributed to their popularity among the sport's nerd contingent, but they wouldn't have become the world's de-facto "hipster team" if they didn't exist in the environment that they do. The Bundesliga is the sweet spot for breeding teams like Dortmund; it's just good enough to be visible, but historically less accessible than the Premier League, La Liga and Serie A.
Also, their manager is this guy.
(Photo credit: Lennart Preiss/Getty Images)
And so, the PBR of football clubs was born. Someone created a Futbol Hipsters tumblr that's filled with Dortmund memes. This year's Champions League tie between Dortmund and Shakhtar -- another team that exist in the potentially hispter sweet spot of playing fun football while being accessible but not too accessible -- was branded as the 'Hipster Derby'. Hipsters asked non-hipsters to embrace their inner hipster. Some people got really bitter about these developments.
Those who are deeply entrenched in the European football communities of Twitter and tumblr can sympathize with those who hate these new-wave hipster Dortmund fans and might find it hard to explain to outsiders (read: people who have lives, not including myself) where this outrage comes from. So, you're just going to have to take my word on it.
Dortmund's title in 2010-11 and subsequent Bundesliga-German cup double the following year attracted large volumes of fans, and those who started supporting the club in 2010 had to start lying to differentiate themselves from those who hopped aboard the bandwagon in 2011 and 2012. They claimed that they followed Shinji Kagawa's J. League career, that they knew Jürgen Klopp was a genius when he was at Mainz, that they watch the Polish Ekstraklasa to find the next generation of Dortmund stars and that they decided to start supporting Dortmund because they enjoyed Lucas Barrios' play at the 2010 World Cup, not because of anything that happened afterwards. There are literally thousands of these people poisoning the internet for people who are not awful, and it would be wonderful if they disappeared.
Unfortunately, those people are probably going to have crap to feed on for a very, very long time, and there will be excellent opportunities upcoming for those who latched onto the team in 2012 but can't find a way to be accepted by the people who started supporting them two years prior. Mario Götze, Dortmund's brightest young star, has already agreed to join Bayern Munich in the summer. Robert Lewandowski will almost certainly follow him out the door. Klopp and other stars might follow.
Der BVB are too good to fade into oblivion, and they're making too much money from their Champions League campaign and the sale of their stars to avoid putting a good product on the pitch. Their stadium will remain packed every week through a slight downturn and their top-notch academy will continue to produce first team players. But, if Dortmund aren't contending with Bayern Munich for Bundesliga titles and something sexier comes along -- possibly Shakhtar improving, possibly Napoli or Athletic Bilbao's resurgence, but probably something entirely different -- the bandwagoners will jump ship. They'll go find something cooler to latch onto.
The real hipsters will stick around. Those who are dedicated to simply being different from everyone else, as opposed to liking awesome things because they are awesome, will see the light at the end of the tunnel from very far away. They will gladly stick with their Dortmund allegiance, then proclaim that they have been a fan since 2010 when they make the Champions League semifinal again circa 2017.
If you were unaware of this phenomenon until just now, please believe me when I say that you were blissfully unaware, whether you know it or not. I urge you not to go digging to find these people and to remain completely ignorant of this very weird subculture. Borussia Dortmund, independent of all of this, are pretty cool as a television product. They're a really fun team to watch, and they're probably going to give Real Madrid a lot of trouble on Wednesday. Watch them because they're fun and appreciate them because their players and manager are good at their profession.
Or buy a shirt and tell people they were cooler when they had Tomas Rosicky and Jan Koller. Whatever.